The International Finance Centre of Guernsey is introducing a modern supervisory framework for pensions, bringing its regulatory regime into line with international standards, enabling Guernsey firms to bring regulated international pension products to market.

The new regime means firms providing pension products will be formally supervised as pension providers for the first time and, further, it will enable those firms to apply for broad exemptions under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS).

"As an early adopter of common reporting we are determined that come the June 2017 starter's whistle Guernsey will be ready to run, not having to hang back because our regulation or compliance isn't fit for the new event that is CRS," said Guernsey Finance Chief Executive, Dominic Wheatley.

The decision to introduce a set of Conduct of Business Rules for domestic and international schemes follows a late-2016 review in which there was strong support from the island's 50-plus pension providers to regulated pension products.

Firms providing pensions have always been subject to licensing and supervision, and Guernsey has a reputation for excellence in the regulation of financial services, but the scope of the supervisory regime had not previously extended to pension schemes.

The island's regulator, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission is adding the formation, administration and management of pension schemes to the list of regulated activities set out under the island's Regulation of Fiduciaries Law.

The rules also include provisions for the regulation of schemes themselves, requiring notification and reporting of scheme data, and which will apply to domestic and international, personal, group and occupational schemes. These rules will, amongst other things, enable pension providers in Guernsey to apply for exemptions under CRS.

Stephen Ainsworth, Senior Partner at BWCI and President of the Guernsey Association of Pension Providers, praised the island's regulator for moving swiftly to strengthen Guernsey's competitiveness in the pension sector.

"Guernsey pension providers and administrators will now be ahead of the pack, with a regime that enables the island to meet its reporting obligations at the earliest opportunity while placing the lowest possible burden on the firms. It gives Guernsey providers an edge with a regulated pensions product to market internationally," he said.

The revised regime is planned to take effect from June 30, 2017 with a transitional period proposed to allow firms to fully comply and attain regulated pension status for their pension plans.

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